Dear Ginny Rorby,
My name is Rosa Rodriguez. I am the Deaf Literacy Coordinator for the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative in Florida. I am working with the middle school teacher at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Largo, Florida, who has a reading class of five 8th graders who are Deaf.
These five students have never enjoyed reading. National research done at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. says that the average deaf high school student graduates at a third grade reading level. It has been our passion to drastically change this sad statistic. For these students, reading has been an arduous task that was always a requirement. In an effort to show them the beautiful world of reading, the teacher decided to do a read aloud, Hurt Go Happy.
Hurt Go Happy opened a whole new world for the students. For the first time, they truly learned the beauty and magic behind a book. They laughed imagining Sukari signing and cried when Dr. Charlie died. They longed to yell at mom when she was oppressive to Joey and clapped when Joey fought back. As a class they learned about social issues such as animal testing and the effects of abuse. They also went on a journey of emotions together- the steady wave of pain and joy.
The teacher says: "Because of your book, their lives have been and will be radically changed. They would always ask if we could read one more chapter or stay past the bell just a few more minutes. They truly understand the feeling I-just-can’t-put-it-down. To me, I saw a miracle happen in my classroom. For maybe the first time in their lives, they fell in love with a book."
For their graduation of 8th grade on June 8th, we are requesting a letter to the students that we can read aloud at their graduation ceremony. The Deaf Literacy Center at our public library will be purchasing your book as a gift to the students and we would love to include your letter with the book.
With sincere thanks,
Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School
Rosa Rodriguez, MS
Deaf Literacy Coordinator
Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, Inc.
Hurt Go Happy Commercial by Alissa Matiya's deaf students